Boat Test: 2010 Bayliner 160 OB

Boat Tested2010 Bayliner 160 OB
Price As Tested$11,500 USD
Category Bowrider
Manufacturer Bayliner
Length16ft 2in / 4.93 m
Beam7ft 2in / 2.18 m
Weight1,289 Lbs
Max HP90 hp
Drive TypeOutboard
Engine MakeMercury
Fuel Capacity18 Gals

By <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Matt Spencer

They say good things come in small packages. Well, that holds true for the 2010 Bayliner 160 OB. My first impression of the 160 at the Miami International Boat Show was that it is a cool little boat and further inspection solidified this even more.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

At 16 feet, 2 inches, this really IS a small boat, but less is more in this case. The folks at Bayliner did an impressive job of keeping things simple in the cockpit, taking full advantage of the 7-foot, 2-inch beam. The seating configuration is a full-width bench seat aft, two buckets, and lounge-style bow seating. It really feels like a much bigger boat from the inside.

Bayliner also did a great job of not cluttering up the cockpit with needless features that end up detracting from usable space. Some bowriders under 20 feet clutter cockpits, leaving you feeling cramped. This is not the case with the 160.

But youre not going to go without either. There are cup holders and grab handles where you need them and you can toss your gear under the front consoles or under the aft bench.

Its also worth noting the entire cockpit is waterproof and self-bailing the gauges, carpet, seats everything. So spend the day playing on the water, not worrying about getting water everywhere as you switch tubers or as the kids climb in and jump back out at anchor. When you get the 160 home at the end of the day, give it a quick spray down with the hose so its clean and ready for the next adventure.

The helm of the 160 is certainly ready for adventure as well. Theres plenty of knee room and the layout is smart and simple. Two large stainless gauges are front and centre with resetting circuit breakers down the middle.

Now, this may seem arbitrary, but I love where they put the captains cup holder. Its on the dash just behind the windshield within arms reach. Other boat builders feel the need to put them down below the throttle, practically under the helm. Now not only can you always keep your water close by, the holder is also great for keeping a cell phone or pair of sunglasses close by.

Moving forward, the bow really showcases the beam forward design where two kids could easily lounge and probably even fall asleep on the trip back. Theres grab handles on each side, storage below and cup holders.

The versatility of the 160 OB shines in the bow too as there is a centre walk-thru section that leads up to a non-skid boarding surface. So put up the outboard and push the 160 onto shore for a picnic and the kids can get in and out with ease (remembering any sand tracked in or out can just be hosed clean later).

The ride on the 160 is sure to be smooth, stable and very peppy. The standard 60-hp Mercury FourStroke outboard offers plenty of power, but if youre looking for more you can go as high as a 90. If you stick with the 60, it will still have plenty of power as Bayliner carries the hull running surface all the way aft, which provides great lift to get you up on plane. And the 16-degree deadrise will handle any lake and cut through the chop youll create pulling the kids on the tube.

Priced at under US$12,000 for the boat, motor and trailer, the 160 is definitely affordable while still offering good fit and finish with no exposed rough surfaces and carpet lining throughout the cockpit.

At 1,300 pounds (plus gear), youre going to be able to trailer the 160 behind almost any vehicle and not burn through your fuel budget getting there. This will really expand your boating horizons, whether youre new to the game or downsizing from a larger boat.

With the Bayliner 160 OB, youll soon find what compromise on in size you get back tenfold in ease of use and boating enjoyment because good things really do come in small packages.
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